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Raymond Chandler and wife reunited on Valentine's Day in San Diego cemetery

February 14, 2011 |  6:15 pm

A new grave marker for Cissy Chandler and Raymond Chandler is unveiled Monday, Feb. 14, 2011, at Mt. Hope Cemetery in San Diego.

 Raymond Chandler and his wife, Cissy, in a passport photo. Click through for larger image. Mystery writer Raymond Chandler and his wife Cissy were reunited Monday -- more than 50 years after their deaths.

Cissy's ashes were relocated to Chandler's grave at the Mount Hope Cemetery in San Diego, thanks to the persistence of a group of Chandler fans and the approval of a San Diego judge.

A hundred people, some of whom arrived in classic automobiles from the eras captured in Chandler's books, witnessed the reburial. Actor Powers Boothe, who played Chandler's famous private eye Philip Marlowe on television, was among the speakers.

Cissy Pascal Chandler, 18 years older than her husband, died in 1954 after a 30-year marriage. Chandler fell into despondency and alcoholism after her death, dying in San Diego in 1959 at age 70.

Cissy's remains had been cremated. Chandler had wanted to be buried next to his wife but never completed the necessary documents. So her ashes remained at a nearby mausoleum while Chandler was buried at Mount Hope, the city-owned cemetery.

But a group of Chandler fans began a campaign to have the oversight corrected and last year convinced a judge that Chandler had intended to have Cissy beside him even though the appropriate paperwork was not on file.

The judge agreed, and Valentine's Day was set as the day to transfer the ashes to a grave beside Chandler's.


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Photos: At top, a new grave marker for Cissy and Raymond Chandler is unveiled Monday at Mt. Hope Cemetery in San Diego (Credit: Eduardo Contreras / Associated Press). Lower photo, the Chandlers in a passport photo. Credit: (Bodleian Library, University of Oxford / Pantheon).